Brittany Gray views makeup as an evolution. The founder and CEO of Toronto beauty boutique and cosmetics line Fancy Face started out in the world of bridal, and the ultra-glam looks were her passion. After 15 years and around 7,500 weddings, women began to approach Gray to ask about semi-glamorous makeup appropriate for everyday wear. “I started to become more and more passionate, especially about those women that have kind of lost their way when it comes to makeup or never found their way,” she says. There is an entire demographic of women who walk into a Sephora feeling excited but also lost and overwhelmed, and Gray sympathizes that, for many, the abundance of shades and options is paralyzing.
“I equate it to when I first got pregnant with my daughter and walked into a baby store like Bye Bye Baby … I almost felt like crying because I didn’t even know where to start. I knew nothing about it. And I think a lot of women feel that way.” Gray felt that being someone with experience who is also able to teach people gave her a responsibility to combine both and create products that were easy to use and simple to choose. She speculates, “I think that that’s where our following in terms of our product has come from because, you know, a lot of people feel found again when it comes to their beauty routine.”
Gray describes herself as having a knack for makeup, but really her love for it developed early. As a young dancer, she was exposed to beauty products as part of performing. “I remember my mom having to drag me away from these makeup counters because of my love for actual cosmetics. It wasn’t even the whole scope of makeup. It was literally picking up a lipstick tube and loving the packaging, liking the the smell of it, the feel of it—everything! I was just, I mean, for lack of a better word, addicted to everything to do with makeup.”
She was also enchanted by the transformative power of cosmetics. At 15, as an ensemble dancer on the set of Chicago, she recalls watching Catherine Zeta-Jones’ metamorphosis into Velma Kelly. “Seeing the power that came out of that really inspired me,” she says.
At 20, Gray went to CMU College of Makeup Art and Design in Toronto for formal training and built up her reputation as a makeup artist while also performing eight shows a week. As demand grew, she put together a team that now consists of 30 makeup artists in Toronto and Vancouver. Now 34, Gray is performing less but is as busy as ever. This past May, Fancy Face launched its first product collection and opened its first bricks-and-mortar location in Toronto—the Rose Room, which doubles as both boutique and beauty salon.
Since May, Fancy Face’s dedicated following has grown exponentially with each collection. Gray explains that the collections are inspired by “the whole idea of people feeling really lost when it came to what to what to use for makeup and my desire for, obviously, things that feel luxurious, but also being able to simplify things for people as well.”
The Box Of Secrets mystery package recently sold out in 10 minutes, and the recently launched Supermodel Lip Bath and Give Love Lipstick are sought-after favourites (each Give Love Lipstick equals one Hope Tote donation of everyday essentials to Canadian women in need).
Here, Gray shares her secrets to an everyday glamour beauty routine with us.